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Tulsa in Oklahoma.

 

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Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma and 47th-largest city in the United States.

Culture

Though Oklahoma is placed entirely in the Southern United States by the United States Census Bureau, Tulsa is influenced by the nearby Southwest, and Southern cultural regions, as well as a historical native American presence. These influences are expressed in the city's museums, cultural centers, performing arts venues, ethnic festivals, park systems, zoos, wildlife preserves, and large and growing collections of public sculptures, monuments, and artwork.

Arts and theatre

Located in the former estate of oil pioneer Waite Phillips, Philbrook Museum is considered one of the top 50 fine art museums in the United States, and is one of five to offer a combination of historic home, gardens, and art collections. The collections of Thomas Gilcrease are housed at the Gilcrease Museum, which also holds the world's largest, most comprehensive collection of art and artifacts of the American West. With remnants of the Holocaust and artifacts relevant to Judaism in Oklahoma, the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art preserves the largest collection of Judaica in the Southwest United States. Other museums, such as the Tulsa Historical Society, the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, and the Tulsa Geosciences Center, document histories of the region, while the Greenwood Cultural Center preserves the culture of the city's African American heritage, housing a collection of artifacts and photography that document the history of the Black Wall Street prior to the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.

Since 1969, public displays of artwork in Tulsa have been funded by one percent of its annual city budget. Each year, a sculpture from a local artist is installed along the Arkansas River trail system, while other sculptures stand at local parks, such as an enlarged version of Cyrus Dallin's Appeal to the Great Spirit sculpture at Woodward Park. At the entrance to Oral Roberts University stands a large statue of praying hands, which, at 60 feet (18 m) high, is the largest bronze sculpture in the world. As a testament to the city's oil heritage, the 76-foot (23 m) Golden Driller guards the front entrance to the Tulsa County Fairgrounds.

Tulsa contains several permanent dance, theater, and concert groups, including the Tulsa Ballet, the Tulsa Opera, the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, Light Opera Oklahoma, Tulsa Signature Symphony, the Heller Theatre, American Theatre Company, which is a member of the Theatre Communications Group and Oklahoma's oldest resident professional theatre, and Theatre Tulsa, the oldest continuously operating community theatre company west of the Mississippi River. Tulsa also houses the Tulsa Spotlight Theater, which shows the longest-running play in America (The Drunkard) every Saturday night. Large performing arts complexes include the Tulsa Convention Center, the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, Expo Square Pavilion, the Mabee Center, the Tulsa Performing Arts Center for Education, and the River Parks Amphitheater and Tulsa's largest venue, the BOK Center. Ten miles west of the city, an outdoor amphitheater called "Discoveryland!" holds the official title of the world performance headquarters for the musical Oklahoma!, while Cain's Ballroom, considered the birthplace of Western Swing, housed the performance headquarters of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys during the 1930s. The centerpiece of the downtown Brady Arts District, the Brady Theater, is the largest of the city's five operating performing arts venues that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The city's film community hosts annual festivals such as the Tulsa United Film Festival and Tulsa Overground Film and Music Festival. The Blue Dome District is home to the annual Diversafest (DFest), an annual live event that showcases independent and emerging artists. Attendance at DFest in 2008 surpassed 60,000 people for the two days. DFest takes place in the last weekend of July. Due to economic reasons the 2010 DFest was cancelled.

Outdoor recreation

The City of Tulsa manages 140 parks spread over 6,000 acres (2,400 ha). Most notably, Woodward Park, a 45-acre (18 ha) tract located in midtown Tulsa, doubles as a botanical gardens featuring the Tulsa Municipal Rose Garden and more than 6,000 rose plants in 250 varieties. Tulsa River Parks is a series of parks that run adjacent to the Arkansas River for about 10 miles from downtown to the Jenks bridge. Since 2007 a significant portion of the River Parks area north of I-44 has been renovated with new trails, landscaping and playground equipment.
The river parks trail system traverses the banks of the Arkansas River.

The city's zoo, the Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum, was voted "America's Favorite Zoo" in 2005 by Microsoft Game Studios in connection with a national promotion of its Zoo Tycoon 2 computer game. Doubling as a museum that documents the cultures and history of various climates in North America, the zoo encompasses a total of 78 acres (32 ha) with approximately 1,500 animals and 436 species. The zoo is located in Mohawk Park, the third largest municipal park in the United States.

On the west bank of the Arkansas River in the suburb of Jenks, the Oklahoma Aquarium is the state's only freestanding aquarium, containing over 200 exhibits, including a shark tank.

The Tulsa State Fair, operating in late September and early October, attracts over one million people during its 10 day run, and the city's Oktoberfest celebration was named one of the top 10 in the world by USA Today and one of the top German food festivals in the nation by Bon Appetit magazine. The annual Mayfest arts and crafts festival entertained more than 375,000 people in its four day run in downtown during 2007. On a smaller scale, the city hosts block parties during a city-wide "Block Party Day" each year, with festivals varying in size throughout city neighborhoods. Tulsa has one major amusement park attraction, Big Splash Water Park, featuring multi-story water slides and large wave pools. Until 2006, the city also hosted Bell's Amusement Park, which closed after Tulsa County officials declined to renew its lease agreement.

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